Essay on Media and Violence

Published: 2021/11/16
Number of words: 1311


Research studies indicate that media causes violence and plays a role in desensitization, aggressive behavior, fear of harm, and nightmares. Examples of media platforms include movies, video games, television, and music. Violence in media has also been associated with health concerns. The youth have been the most common victims of media exposure and thus stand higher chances of exposure to violence (Anderson, 2016). In the contemporary world, violence in media platforms has been growing, reaching heightened levels, which is dangerous for society. When you turn on the television, there is violence, social media platforms; there is violence when you go to the movies; there is violence. Studies indicate that an average person in the United States watches videos for nearly five hours in a day. In addition, three-quarters of television content contain some form of violence, and the games being played today have elements of violence. This paper intends to evaluate the concept of media messages and their influence on violent and deviant behaviors. Television networks and video games will be considered.

The Netflix effect involves the behavior of staying home all day, ordering food, and relaxing the couch to watch Netflix programs (McDonald & Smith-Rowsey, 2016). Netflix and binge-watching have become popular among the younger generation and thus are exposed to different kinds of content being aired. Studies indicate that continuous exposure to violent materials has a negative effect on the aggressive behavior of individuals. Netflix is a global platform in the entertainment industry (Lobato, 2019). Although, the company does not have the rights to air in major countries such as China, India, and Japan, it has wide audience. One of the reasons for sanctions is the issues of content being aired by the platform, which may influence the behaviors of the young generation. The primary goal of Netflix is entertainment; it’s only the viewers who have developed specific effects that affect their violent behaviors through imitation of the content.

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Television Networks

Television networks focus on feeding viewers with the latest updates on different happenings across the globe. In other instances, they focus on bringing up advertisements and entertainment programs. There is little room for violent messages and content in the networks unless they are airing movie programs, which also are intended for entertainment. However, there has been evidence in the violence effect witnessed in television networks. Studies called the “Marilyn Monroe effect” established that following the airing of many suicidal cases, there has been a growth in suicides among the population (Anderson, Bushman, Donnerstein, Hummer, & Warburton, 2015). Actual suicide cases increased by 2.5%, which is linked to news coverage regarding suicide. Additionally, some coverages are filled with violence descriptions, and their aftermath with may necessitate violent behaviors in the society. For instance, if televisions are covering mass demonstrations where several people have been killed, the news may trigger other protests in other parts of the country.

Communications scholars, however, dispute these effects and link the violent behaviors to the individuals’ perception. They argue that the proportion of witnessing violent content in television networks is minimal. Some acts of violence are associated with what the individual perceives and other psychological factors that are classified into social and non-social instigators (Anderson et al., 2015). Social instigators consist of social rejection, provocation, and unjust treatment. Nonsocial instigators are physical objects present, which include weapons or guns. Also, there are environmental factors that include loud noises, overcrowding, and heat. Therefore, there is more explanation of the causes of aggressive behaviors that are not initiated by television networks but rather a combination of biological and environmental factors.

Video games

Researchers have paid more attention to television networks and less on video games. Children spend more time playing video games. According to research, more than 52% of children play video games and spend about 49 minutes per day playing. Some of the games contain violent behaviors. Playing violent games among youth can cause aggressive behaviors. The acts of kicking, hitting, and pinching in the games have influenced physical aggression. However, communication scholars argue that there is no association between aggression and video games (Krahé & Busching, 2015). Researchers have used tools such as “Competition Reaction Time Test,” and “Hot Sauce Paradigm” to assess the aggression level. The “Hot Sauce Paradigm” participants were required to make hot sauce tor tasting. They were required to taste tester must finish the cup of the hot sauce in which the tester detests spicy products. It was concluded that the more the hot sauce testers added in the cup, the more aggressive they were deemed to be.

The “Competition Reaction Time Test” required individuals to compete with another in the next room. It was required to press a button fast as soon as the flashlight appeared. Whoever won was to discipline the opponent with loud noises. They could turn up the volume as high as they wanted. However, in reality, there was no person in the room; the game was to let individuals win half of the test. Researchers intended to test how far individuals would hold the dial. In theory, individuals who punish their opponents in cruel ways are perceived to be more aggressive. Another way to test violent behaviors for gamer was done by letting participants finish some words. For instance, “M_ _ _ ER,” if an individual completes the word as “Murder” rather than “Mother,” the character was considered to possess violent behavior (Allen & Anderson, 2017). In this regard, video games have been termed as entertainment ideologies, and the determination of the players is to win, no matter how brutal the game might be.

In this paper, fixed assumptions were used to correlate violent behaviors and media objects. But that was not the case with regards to the findings. A fixed model may not be appropriate in the examination of time-sensitive causes of dependent variables. Although the model is applicable for assessing specific entities in a given industry, the results may not be precise.

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Based on the findings of the paper, there is no relationship between violent behaviors and media. Netflix effect does not influence the behavior of individuals. The perceptions of the viewers and players is what matters, and how they understand the message being conveyed. Individuals usually play video games and watch televisions for entertainment purposes. The same case applies to the use of social media platforms and sports competitions. Even though there is violent content, individuals focus on the primary objective of their needs.

Analysis of sources

The sources have been thoroughly researched, and they provide essential information regarding the relationship between violent behaviors and media messages. Studies conducted by various authors like Krahé & Busching did not establish any relationship between the two variables. Allen & Anderson (2017) argue that the models for testing the two variables are unreliable and invalid. The fixed assumptions effect model was utilized, and its limitations have been discussed above. Therefore, the authors of these references have not been able to conclude whether there is a connection between violence and media messages.


Allen, J. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2017). General aggression model. The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects, 1-15.

Anderson, C. A. (2016). Media violence effects on children, adolescents and young adults. Health Progress97(4), 59-62.

Anderson, C. A., Bushman, B. J., Donnerstein, E., Hummer, T. A., & Warburton, W. (2015). SPSSI research summary on media violence. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy15(1), 4-19.

Krahé, B., & Busching, R. (2015). Breaking the vicious cycle of media violence use and aggression: A test of intervention effects over 30 months. Psychology of Violence5(2), 217.

Lobato, R. (2019). Netflix nations: the geography of digital distribution. NYU Press.

McDonald, K., & Smith-Rowsey, D. (Eds.). (2016). The Netflix effect: Technology and entertainment in the 21st century. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

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